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Ford sees pickup sales recovering in Q4

Sluggish pickup sales in Thailand as banks use stricter lending criteria are expected to recover in the final quarter of this year, which is dubbed the "high car-buying season", says Ford Thailand, the production and distribution arm of US-based Ford Motor.

Prospective buyers in the farming sector tend to have more money from sales of crops in the fourth quarter, while the Motor Expo is usually organised in early December, said Ratthakarn Jutasen, managing director of Ford Thailand.

Car companies often launch new marketing campaigns, which should boost sales, said Mr Ratthakarn.

“We expect our pickups to gain market share of between 10.5-11% in the pickup segment in the last three months of this year, due mainly to our sales promotion campaigns,” he said.

From January to August, the company’s total domestic car sales increased by 11% year-on-year to 25,830 units, including Ford Ranger and Ford Everest, which are in the pickup segment.

“Our Ranger and Everest sales have still seen strong growth,” said Mr Ratthakarn.

However, total sales of pickups in the domestic market have dropped for months because banks applied stricter loan granting criteria amid worries over high household debt.

Thai household debt exceeds 90% of the nation’s GDP, while public debt is at 61% of GDP this year.

Domestic car sales in August fell by 11.6% year-on-year to 60,234 units, with sales of pure pickups plunging by 36.3% to 19,561 units, according to the Federation of Thai Industries’ Automotive Industry Club.

More imports of electric vehicles from China also affected the domestic production of internal combustion engine-powered cars, which is decreasing as electric mobility technology increasingly grabs buyers’ interest.

Electric sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and subcompact crossover SUVs, the smallest segment of crossover SUVs, are especially popular.

At present, up to 60% of Ford cars manufactured at a factory in Rayong are exported, with the remaining 40% sold domestically.

The company will continue to increase its exports to Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East, where demand is high.

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